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Transnational Climate Governance Initiatives: Designed for Effective Climate Change Mitigation?

Katharina Michaelowa () and Axel Michaelowa

International Interactions, 2017, vol. 43, issue 1, 129-155

Abstract: The Paris Agreement of December 2015 set a highly ambitious target for global climate change mitigation, but it remains unclear how it will be reached, and the individual countries’ pledges do not add up to the overall target. Can transnational climate governance initiatives be expected to fill the gap? We assess 109 such initiatives based on four design criteria: existence of mitigation targets; incentives for mitigation; definition of a baseline; and existence of a monitoring, reporting, and verification procedure. About half of the initiatives do not meet any of these criteria, and not even 15% satisfy three or more. Many initiatives were created only for the purpose of networking. Orchestration by national governments and international organizations increases the number of criteria met. On average, the mitigation focus of new initiatives was highest during the “heyday” of the international climate policy regime between 2005 and 2010. While mitigation-oriented entrepreneurial initiatives are generally started only in response to existing regulation, subnational governments and NGOs show some attempts to go beyond that and compensate for insufficient regulation at the national and international level. Yet, given the low overall quality assessment, transnational climate governance initiatives cannot be expected to fill the “mitigation gap.”

Date: 2017
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